Researcher says he is prepared to go to jail to protect interviewee confidentiality

Mon, Oct 1, 2012, 01:00

A former member of the IRA who is now a writer has told a conference he is willing to go jail to protect sources he interviewed as part of Boston College’s Belfast Project.

At the second annual Oral History Network of Ireland conference in Ennis on Saturday, Anthony McIntyre told delegates that if someone who played a role in the Northern Ireland conflict came to him now to tell their story, “I wouldn’t take it, as I can’t guarantee that I can protect my sources.”

Mr McIntyre and journalist Ed Moloney are involved in legal actions in the US and Northern Ireland to prevent the Police Service of Northern Ireland obtaining tapes of interviews they conducted with combatants in the conflict.

They carried out the interviews for Boston College in the US.

The PSNI is seeking access to all recordings Mr McIntyre carried out with Dolours Price as part of PSNI investigations into the 1972 murder of Jean McConville, one of the so-called “disappeared”.

Mr McIntyre said the PSNI obtaining the recordings would place his life in danger.

Mr McIntyre and Mr Moloney promised the interviewees confidentiality until the interviewees had either consented to publication or died.

Mr McIntyre told the conference: “The individual researcher has to step up to the plate and be prepared to face imprisonment other than to allow their sources be compromised. It could well result that I could end up going to prison for refusing to assist in any way in any investigation that results from this, but that is a price that we have to pay.”